The Ravens won the Super Bowl after the 2012 season, but that didn’t guarantee an extended stay for any players on the defensive side of the ball.
Baltimore returns just two starters — linebacker Terrell Suggs and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata — from that team and they’ve been working to replenish the talent supply. Their first four picks in the 2013 draft were defensive players, but they gave up the most fourth quarter points in team history. They added four more in the first four rounds of this year’s draft, leaving coach John Harbaugh to set a high bar for the unit to reach on the field this season.
“The expectation for our defense is to be top-five, at the worst,” Harbaugh said, via ESPN.com. “It has always been that way and always will be.”
This year’s Ravens defense is much shorter on experience than the one that won the Super Bowl, but the hope is that the infusion of youth over the last two years has upped the speed and athleticism enough to bring the team back to previous heights. It’s a big bet and one that will further solidify the reputations of Harbaugh, defensive coordinator Dean Pees and General Manager Ozzie Newsome if it pays off.